cue the mention by our highland friends of the black gold
That is all...
UK.gov's Secretary of State for Scotland wants the Scottish government to stop moaning about the recent rural broadband funds allocated to the country. As we reported last week, the Scot ministers aren't happy about the £68.8m that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt splashed on the rollout of fibre optic tech in Scotland. The …
My theory is that there is one more level to it than that: Annoy the English by making almost everything we hear from north of the border a whine about entitlement => English take it out on innocent Scots who haven't moaned about anything => These Scots get pissed off at English always having a go at them.
Yes. The Acts and Treaty of Union explicitly define themselves as an agreement between two equal parties. The Union Parliament could dissolve itself and reconvene the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both of which have been adjourned for three hundred years (Winnie Ewing's opening address at the Scottish Parliament, while poetic, not being entirely constitutionally accurate).
Now that's out of the way, what is the most appropriate way of allocating funds? Presumably, some kind of algorithm was used to allocate the funds sensibly?
It is true that Scotland has a lot of remote areas, but the cost of connecting these to the broadband network would presumably be enormous and far, far beyond £69m.
The fact is, most of Scotland lives in the densely populated central belt - the towns and cities around Glasgow in the west to Dundee in the east. Outside the central belt, there is Aberdeen and Inverness in the north. The rest of the country is 'there be dragons' territory.
"Scotland contributes a little more than 8 per cent of UK revenues according to the latest figures. The £68.8m that Hunt assigned represented just under 13 per cent of the total £530m available, a fifty per cent markup on what the Scots should have got on a pro rata basis."
Are you saying that the money should be divided on a pro-rata basis? Well, that may be your opinion but the fact is it is not, and hasn't been for some time. Anybody who is interested in the reasons why not may find out more by reading about the Barnett Formula.
It would be more accurate to say (leaving aside the questionable grammar) "a fifty per cent markup on what the Scots would have got on a pro rata basis".
I deliberately didn't get into figures because I don't have the facts to hand. You say the money allocated to Scotland would be reduced if the Barnett Formula was applied? Fair enough. Please post your sources - I'm keen to see some facts among the flamebait.
Talking of which, where in my post did I say the Barnett Formula was used to divide this money up? I didn't, my point was not about more money or less money but it was about the judgemental tone of the article. Still, reading comprehension is not commonly a strong point among anonymous internet cowards.
I don't have the figures for 2011, but using the 2007 figures it works works out like this:
England's population is considered to be 100, Scotland's 10.08, Wales' 5.84, NI, 3.43
This means the distribution should be:
You are quite right, I should have checked my figures. Scotland should only get £44.76m. I forgot that both NI and Wales get a share.
or geographical criterion to punt your angle - here's mine - Scotland has 1/3rd of the land mass so should receive approaching 1/3rd of the budget for infrastructure projects where geography is pertinent. Just another downside, I suppose of forcing people off land and replacing them with livestock
>>"Scotland has 1/3rd of the land mass so should receive approaching 1/3rd of the budget for infrastructure projects where geography is pertinent."
Surely, in many relatively remote places, much of the population is still in villages spread out along roads.
Once fibre is laid between villages, the internal cost of wiring up a Scottish village should presumably be little different from the cost of wiring up an English or Welsh village of similar size.
When it comes to really isolated places with one or two houses, ultimately, if someone chooses to live somewhere that really is in in the arse end of nowhere, do they have any more right to fibre broadband than to mains water or sewerage or street lighting?
It's sensible to ask what the relative costs might be, given different layouts of population in different areas, but it seems a bit of a jump to claim that costs would be basically proportional to land area.
Maybe road length could be a useful rough guide to the cost of the longer-distance connections.
It seems Scotland has about 15% of the total length of GB roads.
It's pretty retarded to not take into account end user geographic dispersion when developing a "national" strategy for high speed networking. Oddly enough, fibre optic networking costs are based on the length of the fibre (including digging it in and so on) - not the number of people it connects to.
it's just pro-union politicians trying to destabilise the anti-union government in Edinburgh based on Barnet formula economics.
What the article doesn't say in the footnote, is that only Scotland has to balance it's books every year on devolved spending, whereas the rest-of-the-UK can borrow extra. So the contribution vs expenditure arguments never stack up because the rest-of-the-UK can borrow (Gilts and other gov't issued bonds) whilst the whole UK (including Scotland) pay them back.
Levies taxes and has the power to set its own spending priorities. It has money, in other words, so what's the problem again?
Oh wait, they don't want to pay for their shiny bling, they just want to take other people's hard-earned stuff. Maybe they should be banged up with all the other looters.
"a fifty per cent markup on what the Scots should have got on a pro rata basis."
The more relevant quote would be about them having 1/3 the land mass with the most remote areas. This money isn't to get everyone connected, it's to get those connected who companies would be happy to ignore.
"Oddly enough, fibre optic networking costs are based on the length of the fibre (including digging it in and so on) - not the number of people it connects to."
The cost of connecting every village in the highlands to fibre optic would thus be enormous, but the benefits would be very limited indeed. If the £69m were doubled, would it even make a dent in the number of villages connected? And would there not be better things to spend the money on than getting faster porn to remote villages?
"Oddly enough, fibre optic networking costs are based on the length of the fibre (including digging it in and so on) - not the number of people it connects to"
Think you find it costs far more to lay fibre/km in urban areas than it does across grass, unless there are already lovely ducts that are not collapsed in place.
...dont levy taxes at all. Presumably if they did they wouldn't have to whinge at Westminster. There was a vague clause allowing the scottish government to vary income tax by (I think) 3p in the pound either way when it was setup, but no details on how that was supposed to be achieved, and if it was done how the additional overhead on HMRC was going to be paid for.
I'm looking forward to the day when we are independent, but I'm wondering who the SNP are going to whinge about then. In the words of Billy Connelly; "Dont vote for politicians, it just encourages them!"
You really care about this? Then pay for it, you whinging bunch of bastards. You're devolved precisely so that you can make independent funding decisions about things which particularly affect Scotland. You've already decided to throw a ton of money at unis, which is a reasonable decision. But don't whine when there's no more to go round. Why should the English subsidise you?
Suppose you took money from somewhere else instead? There's £8m a year subsidising Scottish ferry companies. There's £6.4m of European Regional Development Fund money going into Scotland too, which is particularly intended for infrastructure projects. £3m on Scottish Opera. £2.3m on Scottish National Ballet. £5.9m for a public sector Oracle license. (?!?!) £8.9m went to CapGemini for unspecified "project support services". Then there's the NHS National Services Scotland, whose only responsibility is blood donations and collating best-practise advice (they don't even do research themselves), with a staff of 3600 people, who got £225m.
Figures courtesy of http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/923/0100321.pdf as of June 2010.
> Why should the English subsidise you?
they don't. it's the other way round. scotland subsidises england. read the recent gers reports published by the scottish government. the tax take in scotland is about 1bn more than its public expenditure and has been that way for years.
the barnett formula means there's more public spending per capita in scotland than in england. though this is largely down to the economies of scale to deliver public services like schools and hospitals in places with low population density. and while the london media always bang on about how "unfair" the barnett formula is, they say fuck all about how much tax is raised in scotland. i wonder why.
btw, the numbers you quote are just noise. similar sums (and more) are spent on equivalent things elsewhere in the uk. for instance london's royal opera house got £27m from the arts council this year plus another truckoad of dosh from the lottery.
and remind us, how many billions of public money have been pissed away on the olympics or crossrail or the millenium dome or the channel tunnel rail link? last time i looked, these didn't benefit anyone living outside the m25.
and yes, you're right. scotland does need to grow a pair and leave the uk.
i hadn't seen the gers report for 2009/10. in the executive summary for 2008/9 (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/06/22160331/2) it says:
incorporating a share of the expenditure associated with the UK Government's financial sector interventions, in 2008-09, the estimated current budget balance for the public sector in Scotland was a deficit of £10.5 billion (9.1 per cent of GDP) excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £9.4 billion (8.0 per cent of GDP) including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a surplus of £1.3 billion (0.9 per cent of GDP) including an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue. These estimates are comparable with the estimate of the UK's current budget balance published in the March 2010 UK Budget.
Not including a share of the UK Government's financial sector interventions, in 2008-09, the estimated current budget balance for the public sector in Scotland was a deficit of £10.5 billion (9.1 per cent of GDP) excluding North Sea revenue, a deficit of £9.4 billion (8.0 per cent of GDP) including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a surplus of £1.2 billion (0.9 per cent of GDP) including an illustrative geographical share of North Sea revenue.
the ones from earlier years pretty much had the same numbers if i recall correctly: the surpluses of around £1bn (~1% of scottish gdp) stuck in my head.
btw, the 2009/10 gers report you quote shows scotland's national debt as a proportion of gdp (6.8%) is still better than the uk's (7.6%). this is despite the fact that oil revenues are down because of tax changes made in westmister. so scotland still subsidises england, even when both countries are running a public sector deficit.
besides, if scotland had had control over its oil revenues for the last 30-odd years, nobody could doubt it would be as wealthy as norway and have equivalent levels of public services and healthy public finances. the tories and zanulab (same thing) pissed all that away. clueless evil bastards.
"The £68.8m that Hunt assigned represented... a fifty per cent markup on what the Scots should have got on a pro rata basis".
Given a total UK budget of £ X available to improve rural broadband, why would ''pro rata on revenue' be the way we "should" allocate it amongst communities ? Surely it should get allocated to those parts of the nation which have the largest proportion of rural communities, or to those rural communities where you can make a meaningful difference by spending the cash.
I'm sure The City contributes a good chunk of revenues but you wouldn't suggest it is being screwed over if it doesn't receive that % share of rural broadband monies.
I'm not qualified to say whether the England / Scotland / Wales split is fair, but the bootnote doesn't seem to make a very good point.
(although i sit near one in the office)
the fund is for rural development, thats rural, which scotland has a lot of.
discussions about the uncome generated by sotland are entirely specious.
by the same calculations the city of westminster generates (in good years), say 25% of uk income, so it follows that 25% of the rural development fund should go to them.
MOST subsidised? I think you'll find that London is the LEAST subsidized city in the UK, generating a large proportion of the UK GDP. It also has 2.5 times the GDP of Scotland (£340bn as opposed to £130bn).
In addition, the population of London at 7.8 million population (http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/mayor/publications/society/facts-and-figures/population) has 2 million MORE than the whole of Scotland (http://www.scotland.org/facts/population/)
What has that got to do with the price of bread? The public sector is only one element of the economy, not ALL of the economy. Private sector jobs don't get London allowances or London weighting or whatever it might be and I think you'll find that there are substantially more private sector employees than public sector. Were they also subsidised?
I lived and worked (not in the public sector) in London for 30 years and I did not feel like I was subsidised by my Scottish cousins. My salary was higher, but my costs were substantially greater so my standard of living was lower than it would have been if I'd lived among the heather. However, I was living where I had to to earn a living.
This might be seen as a cunning strategy by the Nats: create a stink by arguing the toss over every reserved issue that comes up, thus entrenching support among Scottish voters, while simultaneously giving Westminster such earache that eventually they'll be begging for separation too.
The logic of this attack is quite good: If you (Mr Cameron) support the Union, then the money you spend should be applied so that it produces equal benefit across its population. In Scotland, due to geographical factors that can't be helped, that'll cost you more to achieve. Quite a lot more, as it happens. An alternative? Cut the ties so we're stuck with only our own revenues (or what percentage we choose to award the project) to work with. We'll do poorly, of course, and you can laugh at us over the fence, but for us the fence is the real point.
(Disclosure: not a Nat, but definitely pro-referendum.)
If you include the north sea in your numbers you'll find its over 16%, which for a population of just under 10% that of England seems like the english are getting a good deal by taking our money and not giving it all back.
That aside the fund is surely designed to connect remote areas, of which there are many in scotland hence the disproportionate percentage. Also the fact that no funds are allocated pro rata and we are left with a worthless article designed to fuel the drivel between the scots and the english, i'm just sorry to have been sucked in...
The Scottish Government isn't allowed to levy taxes - not yet, anyway.
It doesn't get a proportion of the oil revenues either: they apparently come from a constituent nation of the UK called the North Sea. Just as well that nation was discovered in time to allow Margaret Thatcher to fund her civil war within industry (remember when the UK made things?) and her external war with Argentina. That way, the UK ended up with no industry, an underclass of the permanently subsidised unemployed, a culture of get-rich-quick financial spivs and free-for-all fishing to satisfy the Spanish seafood market. The Scottish Government, naturally, looks at all these, er, benefits and contrasts them with those made available to the people of Norway, and thinks it could allocate taxes in a rather more efficient and more beneficial manner.
The anti-independence parties in Scotland try their damnedest to prove the Scottish Government right, by insisting on expenditure on, for example, a pointless tram scheme (where there is an excellent bus service) instead of upgrading major trunk roads and then bleating constantly that the Nationalist Scottish Government isn't being fair.
Given current and present experience, the wonder is that the Scottish population don't insist on independence asap. Anyone would imagine they'd vote wholesale for it. Oh, I forgot - at the last election, they did. It's just that nobody believes the voters' overwhelming vote for a pro-independence party is a vote for independence. We live in strange times.
"...and I must have missed the bit where Shocked Jock specified who invaded who."
Well, if you say "to fund her war", that sounds very much like she was the instigator, as she had a choice whether or not to have a war. Of course, she could have allowed Argentina to walk off with some islands of ours...
Cf. people talk about Blair's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Hitler's WWII, and not Churchill's WWII, as only one of them had a real choice to fight a war.
that's fine, cos we can stop paying them anything at all! Especially for their overpriced under-performing wind farms.
IF they have so much land, why oh why are they not building 'affordable homes' on it?
Why SHOULD we finance remote rural Scottish communities?
I cant remember the exact cost of a microwave link that can handle a few Mbps. But a million it aint.
Of course heaven help trying to punch a tight beam through the whirling blades of a wind farm..
But perhaps they could simply string some fibre along some poles instead.
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